Friday, 17 August 2012

The Orkut Days!

I was jumping from one folder to another removing dust from good old files, I created once, now rest in a huge folder called 'Backup'. As I was going through the files I found lot of articles that I wrote but never posted. One article caught my attention. That article brought back sweet memories from the time spent with friends. It also reflects upon how technology is changing each day and how important it is to gauge the changing preferences and be progressive to remain relevant in dynamic competitive environment.
"April, 2009
"Yaar tera ho gaya kya, meroko bhi net use karna hai. I have some important mails to check...."
"...aarre mein emails check kar raha hooo, aur ek poorana friend online hai yaar...""Achacha thik hai, tera jaroori kaam ho jaye toh bol merko, I will use it then....... Jaldi kar but..."

The first guy who was supposedly doing his
jaroori kaam on internet was accessing Orkut and the one who was in queue and wanted to check important mails, also wanted to access Orkut!!! Somebody might have sent him a friends request or he must have received lots of scraps. Oh his display pic has become old.

I started orkutting in 2004 for the first time. Initially I thought that it was a crap and didn't make much sense. I created my user account as my sister insisted me to do so. She took all the pains to create my account, told me what to write in 'About me', 'Interests', etc... I thank her now for introducing me this part of the world so early.

"How can we use this instead of mails!" was my first reaction, little knowing how that site could actually be used. The term "Social Networking" was alien for me ...back then I was in graduation first year and wasn't found on nets that often. My frequency to access mails was so bad that every time I use to login...I never remembered my passwords and end up creating new email IDs..."Arre yaar koi important mails ayye honge uss ID pe toh!!!..." I use to think. Who the hell would send an email that too important one if I haven't given the address to anyone. Ignorant me!

The Orkut phenomenon was little know in my friends circle that time. I use to feel supreme amongst them. Things have changed a lot and THE Orkut has also evolved...a lot... for good, I suppose.

Today, before signing in my email account, I and probably all my friends sign in Orkut. Spending lot of time, for what pleasure I really cant explain... Creating 'Communities'. Scrapping on 'Threads' and ensuring that the once I create, remains in lime light. Counting 'Fans' and sharing pictures to get comments. Praying to get 'Testimonials' each time I logged in, after all who doesn't like to read good about themselves.
"How would people stay connected with friends earlier?", I wonder. Today if I don't have Orkut access for a day, or if I get message from server 'No donuts for you', I think "Oh my God! there may be so many updates in my scrapbook! I am missing the action."

The phenomenon is very popular atleast amongst the people I know and amongst those with whom I am remotely connected without actually knowing them. My cousins, just 10th passed are found on Orkut, discussing homework via this is beyond explanations....

Hope the phenomenon grows and stay connected with friends as usual..."

This article was written by me in the year 2009 when I was a bachlor staying with friends, in Mumbai. We had only one laptop amongst us. We use to surf internet turn by turn. Orkut was our favorite pass time. Facebook was yet to take center stage, atleast in India and nobody remotely also thought that Orkut would become history one day.

fOoD fOr ThOuGhT: Writing on the wall meant kids scribbling on the wall with crayons. Commenting meant passing comments. Like and share referred to emotions. Social site meant Orkut. Time has changed so much. If you are not progressive and become irrelevant, you have to make way for the newer, better and stronger competitor.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Medal ki race!

Mary Kom after making India proud at London Olympic 2012
London hosted the Summer Olympics 2012, its third time. A gala sports festival that brought more than 10000 athletes together from 204 participating countries was a huge success. The first organized Olympics under IOC were held at Athens in the year 1896 with 241 athletes from 14 nations. This game has truly become symbolic in nature to bring all the nations together on a single platform!

The games was widely covered and broadcasted all over the globe. Two days before the game started, there was one television program broadcasted featuring the Indian athletes who won Olympics medal previously. The anchor asked a question to rap up the show, “How many medals will India win?”, to all the panelists. I instantly thought 18-20 medals should be decent. Every panelist put the numbers between 5-6 medals. Colonel Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore who won a silver medal for India in shooting in 2004 said, “In Beijing 2008 games we won 3. So anything more than that would mean progressive.” I thought for a moment that these players were too conservative. They were so under estimating the Indian athletes.

Sushil Kumar, champion wrestler led the Indian contingent in opening ceremony. The games started and people followed the proceedings with great enthusiasm. Indian athletes received huge support from the mass back home.  There was initial disappoint as few medals were expected from Archery team. In Tennis, the legends Leander, Bhupati and Sania who made maximum noise before the game started, were all out. Personally, they should be banned from representing India in any games, since they have their personal egos higher than teaming together and playing for the nation.

The first good news came with Gagan Narang winning Bronze in 10-meter air rifle event. Vijay Kumar, serving as Subedar in Indian army, won second medal for India, silver in men’s 25-meter rapid pistol fire. He became popular in every house overnight. He has a credible track record of winning medals but still had low profile and was never considered a favorite for winning an Olympic medal. Saina Nehwal won Bronze in Badminton, first medal in the sports of Badminton for India. Her victory over Chinese counterparts reflected her strength, determination, preparation and hard work. Chinese players rule the sport and defeating them in their game shows huge mental strength. This will surely inspire many ‘in-the-making’ athletes.

Mary Kom has emerged as a source of inspiration in herself. The five times World Champion tried to hide her interest in Boxing initially, since it was not appreciated for a woman to play boxing by her family. And as they say, the rest is history. Originally, she plays in flyweight category (46-48 Kgs) but was forced to put on weight and participate in 51 kg category. The Olympic committee decided to have women boxing event only in three different weight categories, 51Kg being the lowest. This meant competing with already established players in 51Kg category, heavier opponents with punches coming much faster impacting much more than she was used to. Her coach was not allowed to join her in Olympic village since he did not have mandatory 3 star certificates as prescribed by international body. Against all odds she won a bronze medal and apologized the countrymen for not winning a Gold. What an inspiration she is!

Yogeshwar Dutt fought with his injuries and operations and landed on the podium at third sport. A legend in my view – fighting all odds. Sushil Kumar was always considered a favorite for making India proud by winning medal. Again as a truly optimistic Indian, nothing less than a Gold was expected. And he almost had it but for the last moment dehydration and tiredness. But a true champion stays against all odds. Take a bow!

India participated in London Summer Olympics 2012 with biggest ever Indian contingent, 83 athletes to compete in 13 sports. They won only 6 medals put together making the television panelists so correct and connected with ground realities. India ranked 55th in medal tally, with no Gold medal. Countries like Ethiopia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Lithuania, Tunisia, etc. rank ahead of India in medal tally. Few of the countries ahead of India appear minuscule on the world map with even less population.

It raises lot of questions for India as country. About the lack of infrastructure, lack of financial support to athletes and training institutes, lack of recognition. A child is forced to become an engineer, doctor, CA or do business. Few parents encourage kids to take sports as a profession. The scenario should change with a leap of faith. If the government cannot do more than what it is doing right now, private business houses should come forward and adopt sports – right from building infrastructure, training institute, coaches and athletes. Cricket does not need any money and IPL can stand on its own. Official leagues should be started for sports like Hockey and Football. It might take time, some 20 years or so to show the true colours but then it has to start somewhere in the first place. It can be planned and executed over a long term. Government can give tax benefits for all the investments done by corporate houses in the area of sports. We should have pool of Gagan Narangs, Mary Koms and Sushil Kumars. Sports should be promoted as a serious profession with assured regular income from sponsoring Government/ private agencies and companies to the athletes. Athletes should also be given suitable jobs once they are off their highs!

fOoD fOr ThOuGhT: Blood boils to see India at such a low position in medals tally. Corporates should come forward whole-heartedly and adopt one sport each and build end-to-end infrastructure. Government should support by giving incentives and tax benefits to corporate houses. To see India at a respectable position in medals tally, someday, we need more of Saina Nehwals, Sushil Kumars, Mary Koms and less of Paes-Bhupati kind of players.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Anna Hazare Rises! – Why it is so important for the movement to become successful!

1919, it was that time of the World history when First World War was going on. In India, the British Raj was intolerable. To worsen the situation, the Rowlatt Act was passed. The act authorized the government to imprison anybody suspected of conspiracy or promoting unrest without any trails and formalities. The very next year, General Dyer heard of major conspiracy that was going to happen among large gathering of people, then. He went with fifty armed men and ordered to open fire till the ammunitions lasted. It killed thousand of innocent Indians, including women and children. It was the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

Gandhiji launched Non-cooperation movement all over India propagating to boycott British goods and use of local made stuff, handicrafts, etc. The movement shook the very roots of British establishment in India. The movement was supported by Indian National Congress and freedom fighters like Bhagat Singh, Chandra Shekhar, Rajguru, etc. It could have given India independence in the early 1920s, had the movement been continued, then. In 1922, the Chauri Chaura incident happened where violent protest between local police and protestors resulted in setting police chowki on fire. It killed 22 policemen. Gandhi called off the non-cooperation movement since he was staunch believer of Ahimsa or non-violence. It took 25 years from then to get the Independence.

It left many Indians including people like Bhagat Singh, Rajguru devastated. There was anger in the minds of common masses. Efforts were made to restore the non-cooperation movement. All in vain. The freedom fighter continued their struggle for the freedom in their own way. A ray of hope that Gandhi’s movement gave got killed.

Today, we are Independent in a way that we have our own elected representatives to govern the nation. But the country has gone from bad to worse. Corruption appears to be a milder word these days, the way they happen are justified by the politicians in media. Tainted ministers head the committee and important portfolios. Land allotment scams, increase in FSI, Coalgate, spectrum scam, mining scam, buying of political support by tax payer’s money, misuse of development fund and the list goes on. The nation is divided into minority and majority to get the votes. The recent Assam violence is an example of how politics is played out with people for political gains.

Last year, when Anna Hazare started with indefinite fast, it shook the roots of corrupt government. Efforts were made to curb the peaceful demonstration. False promises were made to pacify the anger. The huge support that Anna received showed that Indians were fed up of corrupt and incapable congress government. Government tried all that it could to weaken the force over the period of time. The movement gave a ray of hope to billions of Indians. Even I participated at the Gateway of India rally and witnessed several such peaceful demonstrations at various places.

But if this revolution fails, it will kill hopes of million and no one else will dare to do what Anna is doing, in future. Everyone will fear to raise voice against unjust. People will fear from calling black, a black. It is really important for Anna Hazare and Indians to make this movement really large and successful. We need to come out of our homes and support whole-heartedly the movement. It is for our better future, for a better nation!

fOoD fOr ThOuGhT:I know Anna Hazare won’t call off the movement the way Gandhi did, in 1922. More important is that people should realize and come forward to contribute towards the success of the movement to remain truly Independent.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

The Underachiever!

It was 1991, India was having a forex reserve of $ 1.2Bn. By June, 1991, she had reserves enough only to take care of another 3 weeks of imports, then. She was about a month away from making defaults on her external payment obligations. Time was running out. PM Chandra Sekhar decided to pledge 67 tons of gold for a mere $ 600 million. There was an out cry in the nation when the event came into light. Governmnet fell.

The new PM Mr. Narsimha Rao along with then Finance minister Mr. Manmohan Singh ushered series of reforms to restore the economic condition of country. The reforms done were more out of compulsion since IMF laid conditions for lending money to India. The markets were opened for foreign investments and as they say….the rest is history!

2012, today we are into a situation that is often compared with the situation we faced in 1991, though it is a lot more different than those days.

1991 crisis was mainly the consequence of Gulf war, which soared India’s Oil bills and exports dried up. Prolonged situation resulted into fiscal deficit and payment issues. The markets were closed for foreign investors then.

Today, markets are opened, though highly regulated. There is policy paralysis and lack of political will to initiate next level of reforms.  It is the vote bank that matters the most. The government is waiting for Presidential elections to get over so as to start reforms. On the contrary, it should be an ongoing activity and not when situation becomes dire. Corruption has reached to a level that speakers of ruling party shamelessly justify it on news channels at prime time. There is no accountability, no transparency.  Labour law reforms and Judiaciary empowerment are distant dreams.

It is a national shame that the man with highest dignity and holding most important position of the country is mocked about by the media. The ‘Underachiever’ tag is because Mr. PM had delivered things earlier. he has been an achiever throughout. But when he assumed the highest level of authority and responsibility, he acted as a mere shadow. He has the potential, the resources and the power. He could have done things differently.

The only thing that works in the favour of ruling party is weak opposition. The opposition has many internal problems to deal with, leadership issues to sort out with and stately affairs to manage with.

A country is as good as the leader. Unfortunately, Manmohan Singh could not provide the leadership the country needed. It is the political unwillingness which has created the mess. With European issues aggravating, things can go worse. I don’t doubt on the integrity of Mr. PM. But to allow wrong doing happening is as good as to support it. Nothing has been lost yet (and my mind says we have lost 8 golden years in inactivity since 2004). Yet we can sit back, sort out priorities and implement them. Execute them. Rest, the champions are there in the government to advice.

fOoD fOr ThOuGhT: Proud to an Indian, not so proud the way economic mess is created. We need to set our priorities right and implement reforms taking tough stand. And we also need to spare amendments were not required like the IIT entrance and higher education system. Lets get the basic right and start with primary schooling first.

PS: Nothing against anyone, just the economic mess and insane politicians speaking on prime time news makes me think hard. This statement becomes important for me to write since we have ‘freedom of speech’ but it is highly regulated these days!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Being foodie

If I have to sit back and analyze myself to get an answer as to “what is that one thing I can’t live without?” I would instantly get an answer, “to eat, to eat good!” The love for good delicious food gets me going each day.

It is my parents from whom I got this nature, I believe. My dad is completely foodie. In a bite he can decide to continue eating more or drop it. He has an eye for detailing and a perfect taste for great food. This has helped my mom to bring out her best since it is difficult to please my dad with anything less than the best. With that upbringing, I am blessed with friends who also were passionate about great taste. There was a time when we use to go out for dinner every 3rd day, in search of taste that could satisfy our taste buds.

It was Samosas, kachoris,Poha with tarri as a pass time outside food. Dal-baati-churmaat home. Mouth watering Italian, Punjabi and Indian continental food with friends. Two years of stay at Hyderabad for my higher studies gave me opportunity to explore almost all big-small famously, infamous restaurants and hotels. I was introduced to some fine dining there with authenticate Hyderabadi dishes. The Hyderabad Biryanis, the lemon rice, Mirchi ka Salan, the list goes on… Not to forget the all time famous Karachi biscuits! I struggled to get good pani-puri, though. The taste buds were pushed to next level of experience in Mumbai. Some of the awesomest cuisines and presentations I witnessed in Mumbai. Be it Vada pav, Bombay Sandwitch or the Pav-Bhajiat Choupaati! Customized pizza at Jazz by the Bay, interactive kitchen counter at Masala Kraft to the revolving deck overlooking the bay…

My wife is a great cook and her experimental cooking has added a new dimension to my understanding about food and various ingredients. I had some of the nicest vegetables, chutneys, cakes and pastas at home cooked by her. I am particular about few things like the perfect taste of Kheer or Gajar ka Halwa for that matter. There are things that nobody makes better than my mom. The sambar that she makes beats any 5-Star, Udupi or a good restaurant. I tried to get that taste of sambar in Hyderabad and Mumbai too; nothing comes closer to what she makes. Infact, when I eat South Indian dishes outside, it the sambar and chutney that makes me decide if I want to visit the place again. Baigan ka bharta, Daal baat churma, Gatte ki sabji, Halwa are few dishes I prefer eating at home because the best is made there.

Now again in a new city, exploring the authentic local food and restaurants that could make me happy. The other day we went out to explore some Punjabi food. Overall the food was good. The daal makhani was 10 on 10. I never tasted that authentic dilli ki daal makhani ever apart from, in Delhi itself. The flip side is, it becomes difficult for me to appreciate food even if it good but not ‘that good’.

Different cuisine helps to understand the local culture of that city. The food habit has influence of the rulers who ruled the city. Hyderabad food is influenced a lot by the Nizams. It also gets influenced by people residing, location, culture, climatic conditions and lifestyle. Mumbai is heavily influenced by Gujrati food. Due to its fast paced life, you would find eating joints at every nook and corner – serving fast with high turnover per table.

fOoD fOr ThOuGhT: It is not just the spices, ingredients and kitchen that makes the difference. It is the cook, the chief who make the difference. I also feel that the nature, mood and happiness quotient of cook puts soul in the dish.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Tujhse naaraz nahi zindagi, hairan hoo mein...

“What’s there in your tiffin boxes today?” Raju asked excitedly to bunch of his friends after the morning prayer was over. Raju was the fattest guy in his class and probably the only motivation for him to live was to eat, eat and eat. Everyday his first questions to his friends use to be about the lunch box contents.

“Veg biryani”
“Pav Bhaji”
“Pasta with Sun dried tomatoes”

“Wow, I am gonna have a feast today also! We will share and eat. OK? You guys can have my lunch box. I have brought ‘Roti-Sabji, as usual. My mother is very health cautious. I love you guys for bringing such good food”, responded delighted Raju after listening to the food items he was going to have in lunch.

“Sampat what did your mother gave? Yesterday also you ran away without answering!” enquired Raju.
Sampat ran away from there without speaking anything.

Sampat had recently joined his new school. He was in class 4th. The earlier school was only up to 7thstandard, so it was decided to admit him in new school which was up to 10thclass. He use to roam alone in school and never talked much with classmates. He didn’t have any friend.

It was Mother’s Day. English teacher Mrs. Deshpande gave an assignment to write a letter to their mother expressing their love towards her.

“The best letter would be displayed at School notice board”, declared Mrs. Deshpande. All the faces brightened up and students got busy in writing letter.

Sampat was adjudged the winner. Not for the use of correct grammar or correct spellings but for expressing his emotions and the bravery he displayed. The letter read as:

“Dear Aaii,
I know this letter will never reach to you because it is just an assignment. But still today I want to tell you how much I miss you. Sheetal tells me that her mom combs her hair every day. She gives her hot food when she reaches home.  Her mom listens to her for hours as to what all happened that day in school, which teacher taught what, who got punishments, who won race in sports period. Kunal told me that since he is not able to tie shoe lace, his mom does it for him. Ajit’s mom plays video game with him, Gaurav’s mother forces him to drink complete glass of milk in the morning otherwise he gets scolding. When Sujata is not well, her mom feeds food to her with her own hands…

Mummy, we also talk every day. I wait all day long for your call. As a good mother you call me every day. You ask me if I had lunch and dinner at proper time, have I done my homework, am I studying properly or not. You tell me to score good marks so that dad will give me gifts. You also ask me if I am troubling nana-nani, am I listening to them or not, do I trouble them in getting up. You ask everything to which I reply mostly in yes or no.

Dear mummy, someday I would like you to listen me out and not just answers to your questions. Zillions of questions run through my mind, I want to ask you and look at your facial expressions; I want to hug you and cry in your lap. I want kiss on my cheeks and not just from the receiver of the phone.

I love you very much. More than Sheetal, Raju, Kunal and Gaurav do to their mom. And tell papa I will study well and score good marks. I just want to be with you.
Shonu (Sampat)"

There were tears in Mrs. Deshpande’s eyes. She couldn’t control her emotions. At once she discussed the issue with school principal. Sampat’s Mother and father were called and were handed the letter. His mother could not believe what her son wrote. It didn’t require second thought for her to decide what to do.

A letter changed Sampat’s life and his wish of staying with parents came true.

fOoD fOr ThOuGhT: The story is fictional but the situation in real. The other day, I heard somebody known has sent her kid to nana-nani’s place as both parents are working and they don’t want to put their child in day care. I think for a child, childhood is the time when his personality is shaped. Character is built when we are really small. The surroundings and experiences determine our outlook towards life. In today’s world, it does pose a question as to how to manage above situation. Adjustments are way of life. Let yourself adjust as your parents did and not your child!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...